Developing Oration Skills and Confidence in Grade School Children
The art of good oration begins with good text. Martin Luther King Jr, Winston Churchill and other great orators are remembered for what they said not whether they stood correctly or smiled enough. Plain and simple great oration begins with great text.
To help grade school children become great orators you need to select texts that are appealing to them and their audience. Choose texts that relate to the children themselves and their experiences of life. Choose great text that challenges their reading ability so they have to take notice of the words and text that makes sense to the children.
Children spend the first two years with all the world waiting for them to walk and talk and the next 15 years being told to sit down and shut up. One of your great challenges will be to get the children to stand up and speak loudly. If you make it a practice to ask the children to stand when they speak during all classes they will soon become used to speaking while standing.
All too often children have never learned to use their mouth, lips, and tongue correctly while speaking. Spend time bringing awareness to how their mouth works while they speak. Clear speech requires the speaker to open their mouth widely to allow the words to radiate out to the audience. Have the children practice making sounds while they form the correct shape with their mouths and lips. Talk to the children about their voice box and how this works. Talk about the vibrations that make the sounds we hear. Ask them to place their hands over their throat while they speak so they can feel the movement there. The more aware of the role each part of their body plays in speaking the better orators they will become.
Breathing plays a large role in speaking clearly and loudly. Do breathing practice in class. Show the children how breathing is related to speech and encourage them to experience their own breathing as they speak.
Now you have a selected a great text and the children are aware of how their body parts work during speech you have done the hard work and laid a good foundation for their future oration practice. The next step is to get them to practice.
Make practice fun. Have the children take turns. Have them pratice oration in small groups where each takes a turn and the others in the group are their audience.
Give the whole class lots of opportunity to speak.
Knowing that you are doig it right gives kids cofidence. Teach them how to speak properly during oration and they will gain loads of confidence along the way.